Developmental Courage

April 20, 2017 11:11 pm

You might say educators are the ultimate students. We tend to get into academia because we have a love for learning. If I was only able to give myself one label it would be “lifelong learner”—not Professor, not Designer, not Creative. In a field like design there is always something new—and that’s the #1 reason why I love it. You can never be bored as a designer. One moment you are designing for a client that manages a nursing home and in the same afternoon you could be developing a new branding for an energy drink—and then you start a side project called “Octogen”, an energy drink targeted at the 80 year old market…

The year I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in design is the year the first iPhone came out (2008). In other words, I had no instruction on developing for mobile devices, the state of web design was still deeply rooted in Flash animation, and there was really no such thing as a mobile app or mobile website. Luckily my art and design professors didn’t harp on trends in the field, instead they focused on teaching me the creative process and how to apply that process to a variety of opportunities. I didn’t graduate with a degree on how to use Adobe software or animate Flash websites—I graduated with the skills to be a creative problem solver with a flexible mindset and an inherit desire to learn. The demands of a modern designer are constantly changing. There is always a new platform, medium, or application for us to create on. There are new tools, methods, and techniques for things we’ve been doing for years or things we just learned 6 months ago.

After graduating I worked for Apple for a few years teaching people how to use technology and make the best of the tools Apple had to offer. We had a training session that revolved around “Developmental Courage”. 

Someone with Developmental Courage values learning more than comfort. Willing to risk public failure, deep frustration, and the repeated hopelessness of being at wit’s end all in the name of building new skills, awareness or knowledge. —unknown.

This concept struck a cord with me. I knew I was someone that always wanted to tackle the next thing, wanted to be better, but I never really defined it.

Summer “break” is right around the corner. Sure I’ll loaf around for a week or two and refresh—but I start to get that itch after a few days. My library card starts to burn a hole in my pocket. My Instapaper “read later” archive is yelling at me. That “someday maybe” list on my task manager starts to give me dirty looks. It’s time to muster up that developmental courage…

2016 Reading Challenge (Goodreads)

January 12, 2017 3:54 pm

New Year’s resolutions are not usually my thing. In the grand scheme of things I think they are usually only good for setting yourself up to be disappointed. In 2016 I decided I would set a general goal to read more (with a loose goal of 18 books); not lose 100 pounds or speak fluent French (something way to ambitious). I told myself I wanted to read more—specifically read more for fun.

I’ve enjoyed using Goodreads (social network for bookworms) to keep lists of books I want to read or have read, rate and review books, mark my progress, and get book recommendations. As I look back on the books I read last year I’m reminded of how nerdy I am…

There will always be a slew of design books, a steady dose of Maurice Sendak, Graphic Novels, and a few targeted Self-Improvement books. New genres for me this year include Manga, Humor, Nonfiction, Short stories, and Memoirs.

I read 35 books total. That’s 7,192 pages!

Design Census 2016 (AIGA + Google)

December 15, 2016 11:25 am

Go do it! I did.

Google and AIGA are pleased to announce the first annual Design Census—an open and collaborative resource for understanding the complex economic, social, and cultural factors shaping the design practice today. It is free and open to everyone, and its goal is to empower the design community to take charge of its professional development and happiness.


November 12, 2016 11:41 am

safety pinThe aftermath of the election has weighed on me. I’ve found it hard to carry on regular, everyday interactions without feeling compelled to lash out, cry, or simply hold my head in my hands. The fear is real for a lot of people and I’m at a loss on what to do—can I even do anything?

There was an article shared on Facebook by Vox that really moved me. I stumbled upon it as I scrolled through my fear and anger filled Facebook feed. I took a break from defending my most recent status update that blamed everyone I could think of for allowing Trump to happen—and I read the article.

There’s now a burgeoning effort in the United States for people to start wearing the safety-pin stateside in the face of post-election attacks and harassment. Having to adopt a symbol of anti-violence and anti-bigotry is not exactly what any of us thought we’d be doing in the wake of a presidential election taking place in 2016, but it could be one small way to signal that you’re an ally (regardless of who you voted for) to someone who probably didn’t think they’d be in this vitriolic and volatile situation either.

I don’t mean to add some unrealistic meaning to simply wearing a safety-pin as a means to solve the worlds problems, but I do feel compelled to share the idea of this movement. In times of uncertainty for our country and its people, demonstrating solidarity and support can be a huge first step.

I’m what most people would consider the most basic of ethnicities—white male. My demographic is a huge reason why the election results are what they are. I’m not in any of the groups who were directly threatened during Trump’s campaign. I’m not a woman struggling to break through the glass ceiling. But I am still afraid. 

I’ll wear a safety-pin in solidarity with those that have a basic human right to feel safe.

You are safe with me.

The Invisible Man (1933)

October 28, 2016 8:10 pm

Of course this time of year elevates my desire to watch monster movies. I thought about sharing my “top 5 horror movies” or something to that effect. When I started to mockup my list I realized it was too hard. As a monster movie nerd, I couldn’t limit myself to 5 or even 10. I decided I’d give you a prelude into my monster fandom with a movie that (ironically) most overlook.

The Invisible Man

A dark comedy laced with hard-hitting moral questions—hidden inside a monster movie. The Invisible Man, based on H. G. Wells’ novella by the same name, is a masterpiece in storytelling, special effects, and intrigue.

Jack Griffin, played by Claude Rains, is a scientists who has discovered a potion that turns a man invisible. The troublesome part is that he’s used it on himself without a clear way to get back to normal. Jack secludes himself from everyone he knows and loves to try to discover an antidote—one of the many ironies in this film.

His search for peace and quiet finds him in “The Lion’s Head”, a small town motel and bar. The locals are instantly frightened by the strange character covered in bandages with goggles over his eyes (the only way for him to be visible is to cover himself from head to toe with clothes).

Even in the seclusion of “The Lion’s Head”, Dr. Griffin is bothered repeatedly and his patience wears thin. After a few weeks of tinkering, still no results. The owners begin to get restless over his mysterious behavior and, more importantly, his lack of rent. Finally the owner musters up enough courage (aka forced by his wife) to tell Jack he’s being kicked out. Griffin, once again disturbed during an experiment, is angered and decides to alienate the locals by revealing whats underneath the bandages (or in this case, what isn’t). The town is sent into a fright, soon the news spreads to a larger scale. The chief of police calls out for anyone and everyone with an idea on how to catch the invisible man.

Stricken with his new-found power to terrorize people, Griffin appears to go insane and has found a new motive…

The world is my hiding place

Subliminal social issues are tackled in this horror classic. More than just a horror movie, The Invisible Man and all the other Universal Monsters can have you questioning your humanity. What is it that makes us human?

Much like flying, there’s something about the power of invisibility that intrigues us all. From the early days of youthful imagination, to the modern curiosity of what is scientifically possible— everyone can relate on some level to this movie.

An invisible man can rule the world. No one will see him come, no one will see him go

The Invisible Man is my personal favorite of the Universal monster movies of the 30s, 40s, and 50s. The true genius behind a successful “monster” movie is the delicate balance of the duality of man—two sides of the same coin. When compared to Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and The Mummy—The Invisible Man is the most nuanced. The scariest part of a film like this is not the fantastical, it’s the perceived nearness to reality.

It all started with a simple “hello”

September 17, 2016 4:55 pm

I am a lot of things. By profession, I’m a Professor of Art & Design and Freelance Graphic Designer (Visual Communicator). In my free time, I’m a guy who gets nerdy about retro gaming, board games, monster movies, collectibles, Cleveland Sports, and everything with an Apple logo on it—but you might’ve guessed that already.

Most of all, I’m a student. I could definitely get super cheesy right now and call myself a “student of life” or something like that (ugh, I sort of gagged a little just typing that)—but I genuinely consider myself a lifelong learner.

Blogs are intimidating ventures. There are lots of opportunities for things to lie dormant. Life gets in the way and you put “writing a blog post” at the bottom of your to-do list. I plan to treat this space like a free-flowing conciousness of the things I’m exposed to, things I enjoy, things I’m experimenting with, and things I’ve learned along the way. I think if I treat this space like a digital parking lot, I’ll never run out of things to talk about.

Lucky you.

The “hello” graphic you see featured on this post comes from the launch of the Macintosh in 1984. As a child of the 80s and an unapologetic Mac fanboy, I felt it was appropriate to launch my blog with the iconic “hello”. I especially love the marketing that launched with the first Macintosh.

It can store vast amounts of yesterday. It can tell you what’s in store for tomorrow. It can draw a picture, or it can draw conclusions.

Is it super lame or super clever that I think this marketing tagline could easily be my manifesto? I vote for the latter…